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Tag: M. Night Shyamalan (1-3 of 3)

The 20 Best Summer Blockbusters of All Time: 'The Sixth Sense'

In the post-Lady in the Water era, it’s tough to remember how bonkers people once went for The Sixth Sense. But a mere millennium ago, M. Night Shyamalan’s atmospheric thriller was the toast of audiences and critics alike — a box office smash, a cultural touchstone, a freakin’ Best Picture nominee. Not only at the MTV Movie Awards, but also at the Oscars!

How did a simple, potentially gimmicky ghost story capture our hearts and minds so fully? Easy: because despite the shadow hindsight casts upon it, The Sixth Sense is a great movie. Its brief 107-minute run time means not a scene is wasted; its creepy visuals are arresting and inventive; its performances are perfectly calibrated, from Bruce Willis’s tortured psychologist to Mischa Barton’s unearthly shade. (Though really, Night — did you need to name Haley Joel Osment’s character Cole Sear? Even in his early days, the guy couldn’t help himself.)

And most importantly, The Sixth Sense‘s game-changing twist manages to be both surprising and inevitable — making a viewer who doesn’t see it coming feel in awe of the film’s craft, not like the victim of a cheap trick. Even if you do anticipate the whole ghost thing, you can still admire the subtlety of Shyamalan’s work. The movie has layers, people — and I mean that sincerely. Let’s peel them back for the latest installment of EW’s Best Summer Blockbusters countdown.

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Did M. Night Shyamalan really write 'She's All That'? Yes and no, says ex-Miramax exec

It’s no secret that M. Night Shyamalan had a hand in the making of She’s All That, a teen classic released in 1999. Interviews with the Sixth Sense auteur dating back to at least August 2002 have noted this trivial nugget; the movie’s audio commentary also features director Robert Iscove saying that Shyamalan polished up the movie’s script. (Granted, 99.99999 percent of human beings have not listened to director Robert Iscove’s audio commentary for She’s All That — but the .00001 percent who have are avid IMDb users.)

Somehow, though, it took a May 29 interview with Movies.com for the Internet at large to learn about Shyamalan’s connection to the Freddie Prinze Jr./Rachael Leigh Cook rom-com. An additional two weeks passed before that tidbit — Shyamalan saying, “I ghost-wrote the movie She’s All That” — really started to circulate, leading to breathless write-ups on every entertainment website staffed by nostalgic ’90s kids. (So, basically every website.)

Except, wait! As The Daily Dot pointed out Thursday, She’s All That‘s credited screenwriter, R. Lee Fleming Jr., has claimed that Shyamalan was lying about his work on the film. Last week, when Twitter user James Mitchell wrote “OMG, at the end of his career, it turns out he was a ghost writer all along #spoileralert” — referring to Shyamalan — Fleming responded with this (since-deleted) tweet:
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Critics have a field day with 'After Earth'

after-earth-will-smith.jpg

The day a new M. Night Shyamalan movie hits theaters might as well be labeled Critics’ Christmas. Ever since 2004′s The Village — and, even worse, 2006′s Lady in the Water — each successive film from the Academy Award-nominated writer/director has given writers a golden opportunity to one-up each other with jabs at Shyamalan’s oeuvre.

And even though it’s more of a Smith-Smith joint than a Shyamalan picture — notice the absence of the director’s name from all of the movie’s promotional material – After Earth has been no exception. So far, the film has earned a paltry score of 32 on Metacritic and a horrendous 12 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes (EW’s Owen Gleiberman gave it a C+), which makes it just slightly more popular than recent misfires like The Host and The Big Wedding. Below, we’ve compiled the 10 best insults critics have lobbed at After Earth since its release:

10. “Summer 2013 has its first bomb, and sadly, it’s landed right on Will Smith.” — Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News

9. “It’s impossible to take this movie seriously, certainly not as seriously as it takes itself.” — Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

8. “Even with his charismatic dad in his earpiece calling the shots, Jaden can’t turn himself into a movie star by sheer force of Will.” — Dana Stevens, Slate

7.  “As for the plot, I guess recycling remains in vogue centuries from now.” — Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

6. “Not since John Travolta kicked the tires on Battlefield Earth and pronounced it good to go has there been a big-name sci-fi flameout quite as disastrous as Will Smith’s After Earth.” — Kurt Loder, Reason.com

5. “The director of The Sixth Sense used to be known for his surprise endings, but the only twist that could explain this mind-numbing nonsense is if we awakened to discover we’d been imprisoned in pods and subjected to a sequel called After Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Shyamalan.” — Joe Williams, St. Louis Post Dispatch

4. “Actually, in Critics Academy we are taught never to end a review with a sarcastic quote from the film under consideration; the tactic is just too easy and cheesy. Yet here the temptation proves irresistible. So here’s one more. After some mini-castastrophe, Kitai mutters, ‘That sucked.’ Radios his dad: ‘Correct, Cadet.’” — Richard Corliss, Time

3. “After Earth has a hint of the skin-crawling fright of Shyamalan films past [... but] not enough to explain why the director’s films keep getting worse. It must be body snatchers, ones from a planet that has no clue how to make a movie.” — Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

2. “Eleven years and several progressively more dreadful movies after Signs, director M. Night Shyamalan would be lucky to get a gig directing traffic.” Lou Lumenick, New York Post

1. “I fear Jaden might face online wrath for his performance here, especially thanks to the numb-tongued Kiwi accent he’s forced to adopt. He’s not bad, especially, but he is a kid asked to do the extraordinary: compel us as he pretends to do ridiculous bullsh–. As Will Smith coldly instructs him to feel, to root in this moment now, to master his own creation, I felt the purest horror I ever have at a Shyamalan film: What if this is what Jaden Smith’s life is actually like?” — Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice

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Read more:
18 Stylish Movie Spacesuits
Box office preview: ‘After Earth’ ready to race ‘Fast & Furious 6′ for the top spot
Movie review: ‘After Earth’

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